December 3, 2007

Special strains of acidophilus fight yeast and adjust pH

I'm really happy to note that last week the New York Times wrote a long article praising Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World by Jessica Snyder Sachs, which I reviewed here enthusiastically a few weeks ago.

In the discussion of how we can harness other microorganisms to fight the harmful ones in our bodies, Sachs's book contained what the medical newsletters call a "pearl for practice", one which I tested out myself with excellent results.

Sachs discussed a product, Fem-Dophilus, that contains strains of acidophilus which are those that naturally colonize healthy female reproductive and urinary tracts. After killing off our own friendly acidophilus by using antibiotics, many of us have attempted to introduce acidophilus using yogurt, but it turns out that the kind of acidophilus found in yogurt is a different strain that does not flourish in our bodies for any period of time.

The benefits of having the right strains colonizing your body are that they outcompete yeasts and the bacteria that cause bacterial vaginosis by giving you the correct pH and secreting high levels of hydrogen peroxide that kill other microorganisms.

As those of you who read my blog know, I'm not a big fan of supplements, but I read enough user praise for Fem-Dophilus online to think it was worth a try. I bought it mail order. Buying it that way costs half of what you'll pay in local health food stores even with postage. I have been using it for three weeks.

It really works! Many, if not most, of us older ladies whose hormone levels have dropped have problems maintaining normal vaginal pH. If we have high blood sugars, we may be very susceptible to yeasts or other hostile microorganisms. Even if we have normalized our blood sugars if we had frequent urinary tract infections before diagnosis, we may have fatally screwed up the natural flora in our guts and vaginas.

I've gone through a lot of antibiotics in the past, because my high blood sugars gave me unrelenting urinary tract infections which resulted in some scarring that makes new infections even more likely to occur. After three weeks of introducing these friendly bacteria into my system, I am experiencing improvements in both digestion and in pH-related issues that are quite encouraging.

So if you are a woman who has been battling urinary tract infections or vaginal dryness investing in a bottle or two of this stuff might be well worth a try.

To update my report on another helpful supplement: Vitamin D.

After a brief period I stopped seeing any blood sugar effects from Vitamin D, but I did noticed that I seemed to be more cheerful than usual and when I stopped taking it I found that the mood effects wore off. They came back when I started it again. I think that the initial burst of cheerfulness many of us experience when going out on a sunny day may be connected with our body's pumping out some Vitamin D in response to the sun exposure. (If you are like me and have very pale skin, that cheerfulness turns to dismay as you almost immediately afterwards redden up and everything starts to burn!)

Vitamin D seems like it might be a very good supplement for people with diabetes to take, as it might be related to the depression that has been observed to accompany diabetes--along with the lowered Vitamin D levels.

One caution though: I read that if you don't take calcium WITH your Vitamin D, it may actually promote the storage of other metals in your bones--the ones you are getting in polluted air, Chinese supplements, and foods. So don't take Vitamin D without calcium. Cheese and other food sources are best. I use the kind of supplements that are mostly ground up limestone.


Anna said...

Don't forget a great source of calcium and other mineral - cheap, nutritious homemade bone broths. Slightly acidified water (a glug of cider vinegar or squeeze of lemon) and a poultry carcass or meaty knuckles and marrow bones is a super source of very mineral rich, very bioavailable, and dirt cheap nutrition. Plus, homemade broth is far better than any canned, aspetic packaged, or cubed/powered convenience broth, made with food lab shortcuts (and don't let the "no added MSG" claims fool you).

Also, when cooking any meat, poultry or even fish, bone-in cuts rather than boneless, adds great flavor and depth, as well as minerals, especially if slowly simmered in a slightly acidic liquid, as in a covered pot or slow cooker appliance. These cuts of meat are cheaper, too. Cutting out the bones to supposedly save time and "waste" also means cutting something out something flavorful and nutritious. My son thinks the same thing I thought when I was a kid - getting a soft round bone in salmon loaf made from canned wild caught salmon is good luck. And it is, good luck for your bones.

Anonymous said...

Acidophilus is great for yeast infections. I read Acidophilus Yeast Infection dot com's review and was tempted to buy some yogurt. Its certainly good for much more than a stubborn yeast infection. Thanks for the article.

Jenny said...


Sachs explains in her book that the acidophilus in yogurt is NOT one that will permanently colonize your body. I've tried it and not found it to be very helpful. The FemDophilus strains are human strains, and after a month of use, they have most definitely moved in and improved the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Contains two patented and clinically proven probiotic strains, Lactobacillus GR-1T and Lactobacillus RC-14T discovered and developed by Dr. Gregor Reid and Dr. Andrew Bruce at Urex Biotech.